“Born from a desire to provide exceptional event experiences” is how ShaZam Racing describes itself and the company has earned that reputation. In our latest Customer Salute, we talk with one of the co-founders of ShaZam Racing about thinking outside the box, 4 a.m. wake-up calls, and live results.

Name: Brad Henz (Pictured on cell phone, along with his business partner, Adam White, on walkie talkie).
Company: ShaZam Racing
Role: Lead Timer
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Can you tell us a little bit about ShaZam Racing?

We provide timing, event management, ChronoTrack timing and scoring, consulting, and marketing to endurance races. We’ll travel anywhere, but we primarily operate out of Central Illinois. We also host 10 of our own races, including the PNC Bank Peoria Marathon and River City Races, Detweiller at Dark, the Chocolate Turkey (a Thanksgiving 5K), and Screaming Pumpkin Marathon and Relay (a Halloween run through a cemetery lit up with glow sticks). We have lots of non-traditional, fun elements with our events.

How long has ShaZam Racing been in business?

We’ve been putting on races since 2009 but didn’t start timing our own events until 2012.

How did you personally get started in the industry?

Adam White, my business partner, and I have known each other for over 20 years. We ran against each other in high school and college. In 2007, Adam purchased the local running store, Running Central. It was during that time that we were becoming more active in the running community again and launched the local track club. Together, we started organizing races to help promote and support the store and the track club. As the races grew, we decided to established ShaZam Racing as a sister company to his already successful store. In 2014, I personally took the leap to help pursue the ShaZam company full time.

What’s your favorite thing about what you do?

My favorite thing about what I do is seeing the smiles on the faces of the first and last people to cross the finish line. As long as everyone is happy, you know you’ve put on a quality event. I also just really enjoy being part of the running community and helping it grow. In regards to the timing side of things, I love the technology and how racing has come so far.

What’s your least favorite thing about what you do?

The super-early 4 a.m. weekend wake-up calls! Just kidding! Getting up really isn’t that bad, and I am a huge fan of coffee. To be honest, I really can’t think of a least favorite thing.

What advice you would give a newbie coming into the industry?

I would tell a new event director to just focus on raising awareness in the first year.   A lot of times the awareness lends itself to making a successful and profitable race for the charities.

But to get that awareness and grow your event, you need to think outside the box and not pigeonhole yourself in just the running community. For example, put up flyers in bars, not just gyms. Most people are looking for cool swag and a party atmosphere, so make it about the event and not the race.

What’s your favorite race and why?

Detweiller at Dark is my favorite race, but you could say I’m biased since I ran cross-country in high school and college. There are a 5 different races from a Co-Ed Open to Jr. High and High School Races on the same course as the Illinois High School State Championship. Over 1000 runners hit this historic XC course that we have lit up like a ballpark! It takes XC to a new level with the nighttime setting, instant live results, and laser light show!

How long have you worked with ChronoTrack?

We’ve been doing timing and scoring and registration with ChronoTrack since September 2012. It’s so much easier to have everything in one place.

Why did you choose to work with ChronoTrack?

I’m a big fan of not spreading my data all over the place, so it made sense to use one company for both timing and registration. ChronoTrack Live and the hardware itself are really easy to use. Plus, the results are hands down the best in the industry. ChronoTrack helps us give events an A+ product.

And when it comes to technical and registration support, we get treated well. Even though we’re a smaller company with smaller races, we’re never pushed aside and I always get answers. I can’t say enough about the people who work at ChronoTrack.

How would you describe ChronoTrack?

The ChonoTrack people and product are reliable, intuitive, and cutting edge.

What is your favorite features of ChronoTrack Live?

My favorite thing about ChronoTrack Live is the instant results. And the whole system is user-friendly—you can tell it was very well thought-out.

What are your goals for 2015?

We added some new races that we’re looking forward to and we have acquired new clients like the Steamboat Classic, a 40-year-old event that holds the world record for the 4 mile, and a few of the Susan G. Komen races. In general, we doubled the amount of races we timed from 2013 to 2014 and want to keep building on that momentum.

We’re always asking ourselves how we can do better. Adam always says that good is the enemy of great, and we have our sights set high for 2015 and beyond.

To learn more about ShaZam Racing, click here.

To learn more about ChronoTrack, contact us.